The heat of August is upon us and it has been the dominate force in outdoor recreation for the past week, with more to come.
Dealing with summer heat is a necessity on days when temperatures push into the mid 80s and higher and humidity keeps pace. An eye toward sun protection (sunscreens and clothing and hats that aid in that goal; plenty of liquids to aid in hydration; and limiting the amount of times of heavy exertion in the heat of the day all are tactics to employ. Bottom line is like it or not we’ve got summer heat and we have to deal with it.
But even now, in the full of summer heat, we see faint signs of change. Daylight hours are shorter now than in mid June and the calendar now shifts toward fall sports; September 1 marks the start of hunt seasons and that date is only a few weeks away. The seasons are changing and with it the opportunities for summer recreation.
Lakes are inviting now as water temperatures make them a pleasant refuge from the heat. Swimmers and kayakers, skiers and stand up paddle boarders are all enjoying the times. Bicyclists are having a great summer with warm days and lack of all-day rains. And anglers are still plying the lakes and rivers.
Summer anglers are opportunists, seeking out the best time of the day when chances for success are best and the burden of the heat is lowest. That often means early morning and evenings. August has the reputation of the month when fishing success is at a low ebb and time is better spent in other sports. But that need not be the case.
As noted over the past weeks summer fishing can be productive but the key is location. Fish seek cooler water and that means deeper water and weeds. That is the same as it’s been since July and it will remain the truth for another 30 days. It is no mystery; find the cool water and weedy areas and you should find fish.
Summer angling tactics don’t change: Walleyes prefer crawlers, leeches or plastics fished deep; muskies will take buck tails in the deeper water but rise to surface lures on cloudy days or evenings; bass will have smallmouth deeper and largemouth shallower (but mostly in the cooler, low light times of dawn and dusk; panfish will usually suspend in 12 to 15 feet of water and take small jigs.
Fishing has been typical for summer of late; steady if not spectacular. Decent size fish in some cases but rarely the big fish more common to later autumn.
But the reality is even on these hot days we are running out of summer. The best tactic is to deal with the heat and not miss out on some days of wonder and beauty.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.